Have a Hopeful Week!

‘Hopeful’ and her girls

Sola and I have a dear friend named Hope. I’ve always called her Hopeful. Her name speaks to me in myriad ways, but most importantly it’s a reminder of how trustworthy she is. She lives up to her name in so many ways… but I digress. This isn’t about our friend Hope, it’s about hope!

Confused?

Let me explain.

A google search for the meaning of the word “hope” returned about 316,000,000 results in 0.48 seconds. Here’s what the first listed definition says:

hope: A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. A feeling of trust.

The Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology further defines hope as:

To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.

In every single one of the many definitions of hope I read — obviously I didn’t read every single one of the 316,000,000 otherwise I’d still be at it — there was a clear sense of expectation, trust, and confidence.

What’s amazing about this is that hope is expected to be demonstrated when the circumstances are least hopeful. When everything seems to point to the exact opposite of what your expectations are, it is in that precise season that you are expected to be hopeful. Here’s how the Scripture says it:

Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? ~ Romans 8:24

Makes sense, right? Only, it’s so much harder in the doing than in the saying.

As a Christ follower, I’m often looking to be an example of how to live in faith and hope. I sometimes fall flat on my face, but there are seasons when it all seems to come together no matter how dire the circumstances. I heard the story told of a man who, while falling down a mountain, cried out to God for help. Suddenly, having fallen for an eternity what seemed to be half way down the mountain, his outstretched hands grab onto a rocky outcrop and break his fall.

Looking down, he sees nothing but a heavy, thick fog beneath him and surmises that he’s still above the cloud cover. “Thank you God, but I was hoping you’d actually rescue me from the mountain.” Whereupon the Lord replies, “Let go of the ledge!”

“Um, thanks for the help Lord, but I don’t think so!” He hangs on for dear life until one by one his fingers begin to give out and he finally loses his grip and falls from the ledge… no not to his death silly, he was literally six feet off the ground but the thick fog didn’t allow him to see that.

He’d hoped that God would rescue him, but he wasn’t willing to trust in what he couldn’t see. I find myself acting remarkably similar to the protagonist in this story. But I’m glad I’m not alone. You see there’s precedence in the Scriptures. Max Lucado says it like this:

Hope is not what you expect; it is what you would never dream. It is a wild, improbable tale with a pinch-me-I’m-dreaming ending. It’s Abraham adjusting his bifocals so he can see not his grandson, but his son. It’s Moses standing in the promised land not with Aaron or Miriam at his side, but with Elijah and the transfigured Christ. ~ Max Lucado [God Came Near]

How could a one-hundred-year-old Abraham, having waited and hoped all his life to become this great progenitor that God had promised he’d be, imagine that it’d all come together when he became a centenarian? Most men in their fifties are holding their grandkids in their arms not their kids, yet, Abraham, at one hundred is holding the son of promise through whom the nation of Israel is ultimately birthed.

What about Moses? We know he didn’t enter the Promised Land. Heck we’re told that before the nation of Israel made it into the Promised Land, Moses died and God buried his body. Yet, right before our eyes — at least as Scripture tells it — Moses’ hope is finally fulfilled and he stands in the same Promised Land which he’d only “seen from afar,” but not with his brother and sister, but with the great prophet Elijah and the transfigured Christ.

My point?

The fulfillment of the promise lies in our hope. No matter how dire the circumstances, God’s word speaks louder and truer, and so we must keep trusting in, waiting for, looking for, [and] desiring something… beneficial in the future. Have a ‘Hopeful’ week!

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